On Tuesday the 18th, I drove up for a stop on The Minimalists tour. Ever since they announced it I have been looking forward to attending. I read their site quite often, and Joshua and Ryan are two individuals who have had a positive impact on my path away from being a pack rat and towards a version of minimalism that works in my own life.
Driving there I started to think I would be late. I had given myself an 1 hour and 45 minutes for the journey to Los Angeles, but traffic is not something I am a great judge of any more since I don’t hit too much of it living so close to work. When I arrived it was perfect timing and they started a few minutes after I got there. The Last Bookstore was standing room only, which was great to see.
Joshua and Ryan spoke about their own journeys to minimalism, the trials that got them there, and how it has had an amazing impact on their own lives. Then they answered questions from the large audience. One of the things that stuck out for me was Ryan’s discussion on his Mother and gift giving. He worked through her love of gift giving in his own way; essentially working to a solution of no gifts. This worked for him. The topic of gifts is something I can’t help but think of lately with Christmas so close. This year, if I was asked what I wanted, I would say something like t-shirts, almonds, or coffee. Things I do enjoy, and know I would use. (I don’t know if this is more of the minimalist, or, the old man in me though.) My own family enjoys gift giving very much, so this is an approach that works really well. Plus, we love giving them presents they will use.
In both his writing, and the evenings discussion, Joshua often talks about getting down to the things that add value to your life and I think that is an extremely good way to look at things. It isn’t about getting down to the fewest number of items possible, though one does thin out their possessions, it is about honestly looking at what adds value to your life. Being satisfied with what we have, the time we spend with others, and life itself.
I don’t often ask questions but felt compelled to this time. I explained that I was just starting out on my minimalist path, but didn’t expect that my wife really would; and that I was completely fine with that. I wondered if they had come across any others with a similar situation and if they could speak to that. Ryan first commented that it was really good that I didn’t care whether or not my wife also started working towards minimalism. They often hear the opposite, and it quickly becomes an issue with most couples they know of. (I really couldn’t see it becoming an issue for Dawn and I, we are as much a happily married pair as we are individuals whom love and respect one another’s views.) Ryan and Joshua went on to state that as I continued on my path, never go about “showing what I’ve done, what I’ve gotten rid of” but more to “show the benefits of how minimalism has impacted my own life.” Again, this is something I wholeheartedly agree with. I couldn’t help but to relate the sentiment to my Buddhist path.
In listening to them, as well as meeting them afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel like I was speaking with old friends. They truly are wonderful people, working to show others the benefits of minimalism with their own lives.